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Shut Up, Scary Thing

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"You shut the goddamn hell up, super monsters."
Black Mage, 8-Bit Theater, "Kind of a Raw Deal"

Someone is talking, either to someone else or to the viewer. But slowly, creeping up on them, is a horrible monster or villain. You know this person's gonna die. Or they're in serious trouble. The monster begins to roar...

And the person turns around and says, "oh, be quiet." And the scary thing actually does shut up. At least for now.


This is a comedic trope used to create a sharp contrast between the large, mean-looking thing and the considerably smaller person who tells it to shut up. This often takes the form of someone who's talking being interrupted by an intimidating, powerful-looking beast, but also sometimes is done by having a little guy have a friend or pet or relative who's muscular, huge, and intimidating, but can easily be calmed just by being told, "be quiet."

In some cases, this can happen because the person telling the big scary thing to be quiet doesn't realize it's a big scary thing... yet.


Examples of when the character is intentionally doing this:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Happens in an early chapter of Bleach: Ichigo and Kon are arguing about Kon running around in Ichigo's body, as a Hollow is creeping up on them. When it tries to interrupt or at least draw attention to itself, they simultaneously kick it in the face telling it to shut up.

    Fan Works 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: When Goku arrives on Namek, he goes up to Krillin to offer him a senzu bean. Recoome, who was busy pounding the heroes relentlessly, starts to get riled up and ready to attack...
    Goku: SIR. I am talking to my son.
    Recoome: Oh, Recoome apologizes. ...wait, what am I apologizing for?! RECOOME'S GONNA KILL YOU!

    Films — Animation 
  • In A Bug's Life, Dot is threatened by Thumper, a savage grasshopper. As he snarls at her, she slaps him on the nose and tells him "Bad!" This just makes Thumper mad, but fortunately for Dot, he gets scared away by Dim the beetle.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Mummy (1999), when Rick O'Connell meets Imohtep for the first time in mummy form, and he lets out his monstrous roar, Rick yells right back in his face and then shoots him.
  • In Home Alone, Kevin has a great fear of his basement, including his furnace, which he envisions as a growling, groaning monster. He eventually overcomes his fear of the basement in one scene: the furnace is growling and groaning at him like usual, and he simply says, "shut up." And it does.
  • In Beetlejuice, Barbara ends up in the sand desert outside the house. A sand worm threatens her. She slaps it on the nose and it goes away. Later she rides that sand worm to the rescue.

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, one pair of shop owners consists of a short little man and his enormous, muscular, roaring companion, who is repeatedly told to just be quiet.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda features a scene where Ryder and Liam get into an argument while infiltrating a hostile starship in front of a communications console. The owner of said ship, a certain pirate lord who is very unhappy about his ship being infiltrated, attempts to interject over the console via hologram to the two intruders but is repeatedly shut down by Ryder who keeps turning the console back off as they continue to bicker with Liam. Eventually, Ryder can get frustrated enough that they simply shoot the console.

    Web Comics 
  • As seen from the page quote in 8-Bit Theater the four fiends, each of which almost killed them when they fought it the first time, have returned from the dead and joined forces to kill them. But Black Mage is too busy squabbling with Red Mage, so they end up standing there until Sarda shows up to yell at them.
    • Earlier in the strip, BM's reaction to Lich giving a dramatic speech about the inevitability of death is to tell him, "Hush, the adults are talking."
      Lich: What.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Looney Tunes:
    • "Bully for Bugs": Bugs Bunny turns to the bull breathing down his back, slaps it and says, "Stop steaming up my tail! What're you trying to do, wrinkle it?" The bull retaliates by ramming Bugs out of the arena, leading to a fight.
      • Director, Bob McKimson, described Bugs Bunny as the type of individual where if a lion roared at him, he would simply walk over and slap it across the face.
    • On one Pepé Le Pew cartoon, a film director is reviewing the animals to be used in his film. A lion roars at him, then the director shouts "Le Quiet!" through his megaphone, and the lion shuts up.
    • Looney Tunes was so fond of this, that no less than nine cartoons feature the protagonist slapping the "scary thing" across the face and shouting "AAAAAHHHH, SHADDUP!"
  • On the Tex Avery cartoon "Cross-Country Detour", the audience is presented with a split-screen, one side showing a snarling Gila monster, the other a little girl reciting a nursery rhyme (for those who might find the Gila monster too scary). At the end, the girl shouts "Shut up!" to the monster, who runs away whimpering.
  • Cosgrove from Freakazoid! has stopped at least a couple monsters by simply telling them to "Cut it out."
  • In an Animaniacs short, the Warner kids accidentally tunnel to Hell. Satan attempts to impress them with his hamminess while they check their map, but Dot shushes him by saying "Can you be a doll and hold that thought?" At the end of the cartoon, the gag repeats, but this time with St. Peter at the gates of Heaven.
  • Rarity is especially prone to this in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Secret of my Excess", Rarity tells off Spike (who has grown to gigantic proportions, grabbed her Fay Wray-style, and is rampaging through Ponyville) for ruining her new cape:
    Rarity: Oh, be quiet! You've got nothing to be proud of! Steal everypony's things, terrorize the town, and use me as a weapon against my own friends! Which, as horrible as it is, I can almost understand because you're a dragon and all, but THIS! [tears off ruined cape] THIS IS A CRIME AGAINST FASHION!
    Rarity: Listen, spooky eyes! Why don't you take a picture?! It will last longer!
  • In one early Popeye short, Popeye is in the jungle and he's approached by a lion, who roars and shouts, "I am king!" Popeye just replies, "Well I'll crown ya!" and bonks him over the head. A bump then appears on the lion's head taking the shape of a crown.

Examples of it being done unknowingly:

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Willie is bothered by an elephant several times as she's preparing to go to sleep. Then, a large snake slithers onto her shoulder. Willie thinks it's the elephant's trunk and aggressively brushes it off.

    Western Animation 
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • In "The Pointer", Mickey Mouse is unaware that there's a huge bear behind him, thinking it's Pluto. He keeps telling it to shut up, even slaps it on the nose without looking back. It's not until Mickey sees Pluto in front of him that he starts to wonder who's been following him all this time.
    • In another short, "Good Scouts", Donald Duck is bandaged from head to toe by his nephews, and as he tries to free himself he spills a jar of honey on himself. A bear arrives and starts licking him. Donald, unable to see, thinks it's the boys and tells them to stop; when the bear doesn't he hits it, causing the bear to growl. Donald rises up to shout "What's the big idea?", and at this point, the bandages over his eyes loosen, gets a good look at his assailant, and beats a hasty retreat.
  • A scene from the Ren & Stimpy episode "A Visit to Anthony" (that was cut by Nickelodeon) has Ren accidentally slapping Anthony's father, thinking it was Stimpy behind him.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In episode "Bye Bye Nerdie", Lisa and Willie are checking the school security tapes to see what sets off the new bully Francine. At one point, Willie leaves and Francine appears behind her, but Lisa thinks Willie is still behind her and calls Francine a "big ape" before getting beaten by her.
    • One episode starts off with a plot about Homer trying to get rid of a rabid badger that's occupying Santa's Little Helpers dog house and badly mauls him when he tries to get it out. However, the plot then switches to Homer being mad about the town switching to two area codes. When the badger pokes its head in through the window and snarls angrily, Homer tells it to go away because they have bigger problems to deal with, and the badger sulks off. It reappears during the Dance Party Ending leading an army of badgers into the town.
  • In an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, a monster comes out of the closet and tries to scare Hampton. But he tells him to be quiet cause he's trying to sleep. The confused monster explains the situation (he's a monster and Hampton's supposed to be scared), but Hampton wakes up to tell him there's no such things as monsters and to get out, and then went back to sleep. So the disappointed monster leaves.
    Witch Hazel: Don't tell me the pig boy stopped believing?
    Hugo the Snowman: It's a changed world.


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